Oversight Chair Denounces Partisan Manipulation of the 2020 Census
Washington, D.C. (Aug. 4, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement denouncing the Administration’s decision to shorten its timeline for 2020 Census operations, and announced the introduction of updated legislation to support a fair and accurate 2020 Census and protect it from unconstitutional, partisan interference:
“The Trump Administration has tried to manipulate the 2020 Census for the last four years and is continuing those attempts with the changes announced last night. The Fair and Accurate Census Act would ensure that the 2020 Census is conducted according to the expert advice of career staff in a nonpartisan manner. We should leave the experts in charge. This new bill would give the career staff at the Census Bureau the time they need to conduct a full, fair, and accurate count of every American resident.”
The updates to the Fair and Accurate Census Act include:
- Preventing the Trump Administration from purposefully rushing to complete the 2020 Census by delaying the delivery of the apportionment data; and
- Ensuring the Census Bureau can count every community by maintaining the Bureau’s previously released schedule for Self-Response and Non-response Follow Up operations that was designed by Census Bureau career staff and professional statisticians.
Chairwoman Maloney also sent a letter today to Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, requesting the appearance of senior Census Bureau staff for transcribed interviews, including:
- Enrique Lamas, Chief Advisor to the Deputy Director;
- Timothy P. Olson, Associate Director for Field Operations;
- Victoria Velkoff, Associate Director for Demographic Programs;
- Albert Fontenot, Jr, Associate Director for Decennial Census Programs;
- John Abowd, Chief Scientist and Associate Director for Research and Methodology;
- Adam Korzeniewski, Assistant Deputy Director for Policy;
- Nathaniel Cogley, Deputy Director for Policy; and
- Ron S. Jarmin, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer.
In April, after delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump Administration requested that Congress delay the statutory deadlines for the delivery of apportionment and redistricting data in order to ensure the delivery of accurate data.
On July 21, 2020, President Trump issued an unlawful memorandum directing the Secretary of Commerce to exclude undocumented immigrants from congressional reapportionment.
Last night, the Administration reversed its position on delaying the statutory deadlines and announced that it was cutting short non-response and self-response operations.at the end of September—operations designed to reach the hardest to count communities—in order to deliver the data by the end of 2020.
Multiple Census Bureau career staff in charge of conducting the 2020 census operations have stated publicly that delivering accurate census data by the end of the year is impossible.
- On July 8, 2020, Al Fontenot, Associate Director for Decennial Census Programs, stated of the December 31, 2020, statutory deadlines: “We are past the window of being able to get those counts by those dates at this point.”
- On May 26, 2020, Tim Olson, Associate Director for Field Operations, said publicly: “We have passed the point where we could even meet the current legislative requirement of December 31. We can’t do that anymore.”
The Committee held an emergency hearing on July 29, 2020. During the hearing, the Committee asked for information about the Trump Administration’s political interference in the 2020 Census. Four former Census Bureau Directors testified that the President’s legal memo was unconstitutional and called on Congress to extend the statutory deadlines for the delivery of census data products to ensure accuracy of the data.
Click here to read the updated Fair and Accurate Census Act.
Click here to read Chairwoman Maloney’s letter to Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham.